Build412 Tech Raises the Stakes for its Second Demo Showcase

Jenn Apicella (far left) leads the announcements during a recent Build412 Tech event.

Jenn Apicella (far left) leads the announcements during a recent Build412 Tech event.

“Pitch nights are fine, but even the best of them can be dry sometimes,” explains Jenn Apicella, president and co-founder of Build412 Tech. ”I’m not looking to create an event I've been to before.”

The hybrid product demo showcase and tech networking event takes place at 6pm on Thursday, August 8th at HIP at the Flashlight Factory in the Northside. The event, presented by Rivers Agile, will feature four minute show-and-tell style demos from six finalists, with the winner taking home a $1,000 Grand Prize.

Apicella assures that you “don’t have to be an investor or a startup founder to have fun at this event,” which is one of the missions of Build412 Tech. Started in 2017, Build412 Tech brings together Pittsburgh’s Technology Professionals working across all areas of tech by hosting and organizing tech happy hours, networking events, demo nights, and workshops. 

Apicella started Build412 Tech out of her own search for a place to go where she could learn about, and get better connected to all of the exciting things happening in the Pgh tech ecosystem. She believes the best way to do that is to meet and talk with other people who are doing those things. Whether they be a developer, engineer, digital marketing freelancer, CEO of a new startup, angel investor, or a tech executive at a large enterprise, Apicella wants to create events for everyone in tech. “I’ve been to events in other cities. I know it’s happening in other places, and I want it to be happening here in my city.”

Build412 Tech got started as the Tech Happy Hour Pittsburgh Meetup Group, which grew from just four people getting together monthly to have a beer, into the now 2-3 monthly events, each with 130+ attendees, held all over the city.

The Demo Showcase is little different from Build412 Tech’s monthly networking nights in that it includes product demos and a $1K award in addition to the networking portion of the evening. This year’s Demo Showcase aims to be bigger and more exciting than it’s inaugural 2018 event , where Rongzhong Li and his robotic kitten Nybble took first place. This time around “more tech businesses will be present, owners, venture capital, more media coverage, and of course even more technology.”

The presentations during the Demo Showcase don’t adhere to any specific themes or guidelines, simply that “If it’s tech and it’s interesting, we want to see it,” Apicella says. “It’s a celebration of the odd, new, and cutting edge.” 


The finalists this year include PPCC Caregiver, Aura Sparks, ITS Safe, Treegle, Wick Editor, and PodSquad. A networking reception will follow the demos. Like any good networking event, the showcase will include food, drinks, and giveaways from sponsors. 

The event is also a time to celebrate Build412 Tech’s growth, “we’ve grown from an idea to a company,” Apicella explains. “It’s an exciting time for tech in Pittsburgh right now. Expect to see new and interesting tech events and programs from us in the coming months.”

Ready to network? Register for Build412 Tech Demo Showcase here

EMMA DIEHL - Contributing Writer

Emma is a Pittsburgh-based technology and lifestyle writer, covering everything from machine learning in law enforcement to historic building preservation. Her byline has appeared on XOJane, NPR, Huffington Post, NEXTPittsburgh, and Very Local.

Originally published on Thursday, August 1st, 2019